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Byron Shire
May 12, 2021

Cartoon of the week – 4 September, 2019

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Cartoon Gary Cavanagh – Instagram: @gary_cavanagh

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We love to receive letters, but not every letter will be published; the publication of letters is at the discretion of the online and print letters editors.

The deadline for the Byron Echo newspaper is noon Friday and letters longer than 200 words may be cut for the paper. However, longer letters are often published online before or after being published in the paper.

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  1. The disingenousness of our current Federal Government is unsurpassed (except for maybe by the John W. Howard coalition government), on this ‘suicide prevention day’ (today). They think Australians will accept that the government is doing everything they can to prevent suicide, because they say so (for political gain).

    If they seriously had compassion for people who suicide, or struggle with suicidal thoughts, then their first priority would obviously be to lift the Centrelink ‘Newstart payment’ from way below the ‘poverty line’! We’ve all heard their line about how they put people experiencing a difficult period of their lives into a position where it can feel like a daily struggle to survive, as it is best to aim for and ‘find’ full-time work, ha! Surely, someone on their pay-roll must have pointed out to them the number of young and middle-aged men suiciding – and compared that figure to the number of ‘welfare recipients’ in these age groups with those numbers of completed suicides.

    Now, with the new idea of enforced drug testing of ‘welfare recipients’, and ‘the cashless card’, they strive to further alienate people relying on Centrelink financial support from their communities. Why can’t they think creatively and come up with ideas to ENCOURAGE people, as opposed to punishing them (for not having broken any laws)? Maybe it makes people in positions of power feel more secure to persecute those who do not have ‘much’!? The trouble is that their selfish new laws only harm the most creative members of our society, who are also the most vulnerable to suicide.

    It would be far more effective to open a lot more places for long-term support for those experiencing mental illnesses and addictions and survivors of family trauma. Something as simple as making it compulsory for landlords to provide solar power on their rental properties, would help hundreds of thousands of Australians – the quarterly power bills can ‘break’ people’s financial planning (when they live below the poverty line, especially) and sense of ‘self esteem’. Living in a society which regards cash as more valuable than a sense of connection/community and a priority of ‘getting ahead’ over helping each other is very Canberra-centric.

    The devastation of the current out-of-control fires and the way local communities have come together to support each other, working to exhaustion, without considering their financial losses, is a great lesson for our Federal Government. Thanks to all the ‘firies’ and volunteers, and to people who just soldier on … and on … thanks.


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